Bet This, Not That: How to Wager on Caleb Williams' Early Futures Markets

Chicago Bears QB Caleb Williams.
Chicago Bears QB Caleb Williams. / David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
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Now that the dust has settled from the NFL draft, it's time to examine some early futures markets and see where we can find value. Passing props have been released for several rookie signal-callers, giving us some insight into how Las Vegas values NFL freshmen. 

Today, we kick off a new series, "Bet This, Not That." Use these articles as a guide for being creative and finding value when placing your wagers. 

Regarding futures bets, weighing the payout vs. the time you'll tie up your bankroll is wise. Generally, I don't bet on season-long totals because that value is hard to find. But sometimes, there is a way to find value, or at least to get "hints" where you can find values in other markets. You can even use these markets as a good cheat sheet for how high to draft a player in your fantasy football drafts.

Let's look at the early futures markets for Bears QB Caleb Williams, the first overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft. All odds come from DraftKings Sportsbook.

Bears quarterback Caleb Williams at the NFL draft.
Bears quarterback Caleb Williams at the NFL draft. / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Passing Yards: Over 3500.5 (-110) | Under 3500.5 (-110)

Passing TDs: Over 23.5 (-105) | Under 23.5 (-120)

First, let's start with some recent and historical trends: 

Only 13 rookie quarterbacks have passed for more than 3,500 yards since 1970. Nine of those quarterbacks debuted in the last 10 seasons.  

In 2023, rookie C.J. Stroud passed for 4,108 yards, ranking third behind Justin Herbert (4,336) and Andrew Luck (4,374). All three passers won Offensive Rookie of the Year. 

Justin Herbert's 31 passing touchdowns as a rookie in 2020 remains the most of all time.

Only five rookie passers since 1970 have tossed 24+ touchdowns in their debut season, one of which was Daniel Jones. 

Based on these historical facts, Las Vegas is high on Williams according to the opening market for his season-long stats.  

The Bears have created a dream situation for the rookie signal-caller. Williams has two elite veteran wideouts in DJ Moore and Keenan Allen, not to mention a solid pass-catching tight end in Cole Kmet and a pass-catching running back in D'Andre Swift. The Bears also added All-American wideout Rome Odunze out of Washington with their ninth pick in the NFL draft.   

The Bears' defense is improving, the O-line should provide ample pass protection, and new OC Shane Waldron has a reputation for getting the most out of his quarterbacks. The Heisman winner out of USC has everything going in his favor. 

However, it's also worth noting no Chicago Bears rookie has ever come close to these numbers. In fact, only two Bears quarterbacks have surpassed 3,500 passing yards: Jay Cutler (2009, 2014, 2015) and Erik Kramer (1995). No Bears QB has passed for more than 3,900 yards in the franchise's history.

So, will Caleb Williams set new standards in Chicago? With everything aligning, the Bears are certainly betting on it.

But I'm not.  

I'm fading the futures market for Williams, though I will draft him as a QB2 in my fantasy leagues. 

If you're high on Williams but want to bet for better value, consider his OROY future, which pays +200 instead. That makes him the favorite for the award, and though it may not be the best overall value for the OROY award, it's a better value than betting the over on his season-long player totals, and it has a chance to cash even if he falls short of his totals. After all, the odds for the Bears to make the playoffs are (-125). I'd rather tie up my bankroll for a chance at the plus-money payout. 

Bet This: Williams OROY (+200)

Not That: Williams over 23.5 passing touchdowns (-105)

Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem and wants help, call 1-800-GAMBLER.

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Jennifer Piacenti


In addition to being a fantasy sports and betting analyst at Sports Illustrated, Jennifer is a radio host for Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, and she hosts her own podcast, “Waiver Wired” on the Extra Points podcast network. Jennifer has been nominated for multiple FSWA awards for her NFL DFS video series. She’s a Scott Fish Bowl Finalist, and she finished third overall in the 2021 NFFC post-season mini. Jennifer is also a featured expert on MLB Network’s “Bettor’s Eye,” and a member of the esteemed Tout Wars, the fantasy baseball battle of the experts.